Derogatory – Above All Else (F.D.A. Rekotz)

Sunday, 15th December 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

California’s Derogatory are next in line of the retro-death metal hopefuls looking to bring you back to that golden era of the early ‘90s.  Thankfully, they have avoided the usual Swede-worship and felt a bit more national pride. If you’re feeling lazy and don’t want to read the rest of the review, ask yourself this: do you really enjoy early Deicide or Morbid Angel?  If the answer is yes, feel free to skip to the bottom of the page and click the link to figure out how to get your copy.

Not completely convinced eh?  Well, Above All Else does truly sound like merger of early Deicide and Morbid Angel with a few sprinklings of Sinister, Death, and Pestilence added for good measure.  After the unnecessary “Intro” (why must we always have to sit through these things before we get to the good stuff?), “Into the Depth of Time” dives right in displaying the fine chops Derogatory has to offer.  Frequent and high-in-the-mix blasting, aggressive and vitriol-infused riffs and intricate solos, and of course, some raspy growls.  The ‘90s inspired production (whether by necessity or choice, we may never know) also works to their advantage with it’s quaint charm to accompany the logo and cover art and just scream old school death metal.

While some of the tracks may blend together to the untrained ear, the tail-end of the album ends things on a particularly high note.  “Twisting Aeons of Burning Galaxy” has some of the best riffs to be found on the album, particularly the stretch beginning about 2-minutes in, with it’s spiraling and sinister feel.  The ending track, “To Escape What is Now” sees Derogatory more or less abandoning the straight-up Deicide worship for something more technical, progressive, and more mid-paced.  It’s a good starting point for setting the band up to be more than simply a “retro-band” with future releases.

Above All Else will win no awards for innovation or creativity, but they accomplish the goal of providing an enjoyable romp back through the early ‘90s death metal scene.  Nothing more, nothing less, but given “To Escape What is Now,” there is certainly a window of opportunity for Derogatory to expand themselves beyond their influences with their follow-up.

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